CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH The aging ‘60s icons have recently found their waning stars on the ascendant again, thanks in part to getting name-checked by trendy multi-part harmony bands like Fleet Foxes. CS&N were considered one of the first ‘supergroups’ because all three members had been in well-known bands prior to forming in ’68 — David Crosby was booted from the Byrds, Stephen Stills had played in Buffalo Springfield (whose Neil Young would rescue CS&N from complete treacle) and Graham Nash had ditched the Hollies. Their first tour after their self-titled debut included Woodstock, and their three-part harmonies and (mostly) acoustic guitars heralded the baked-hippie turn that reached its apotheosis in the Topanga Canyon scene. The trio also became mouthpieces for the groovy flower-power cultural revolution — the one that gutted the actual political revolution embodied by the SDS and Black Panthers et al. and narcoticized American youth in a haze of tie-dye, dope-smoke and songs about Judy Collins. The trio recently latched onto the Occupy movement and are co-sponsoring the “StampStampede,” with which you can declare your unhappiness about money in politics by defacing dollar bills with “slightly subversive” but “100 percent legal” messages like “Not To Be Used For Bribing Politicians” and the like. With a revolutionary vanguard like that, you can bet those K Street lobbyists are just quivering through the halls of Congress — quite possibly cranking Déjà Vu on their iPods. Way to go, dudes. $47-87
SAM BUSH In traditional mountain music circles, fiddle and mandolin virtuoso Sam Bush is rightly a legend, but he’s far from a traditionalist. It’s hard to believe now, but when Bush formed New Grass Revival in 1972, the combo’s seamless mix of bluegrass, rock, jazz and gospel was seen as a heresy on the order of Bob Dylan going electric at the Newport Jazz Festival. If that made Bush a “Judas,” he clearly didn’t care, pushing the Newgrass hybrid he invented further afield with his all-star bluegrass super group Strength in Numbers and as a sideman with Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett and others. Bush’s distinctive rhythmic “chopping” style on the mandolin was inspired by Bob Marley’s percussive rhythm guitar with the Wailers, and the reggae infusion into Newgrass reportedly pissed off Bush’s idol, bluegrass elder statesman Bill Monroe. Yet Bush says that purism is an illusion, pointing out that Monroe invented bluegrass in the 1930s as a hard-driving hybrid of Appalachian string music and blues. A three-time Grammy winner, Bush is also a two-time cancer survivor, so it’s doubly fitting that this treasured performer is the tent pole for a fest committed to raising funds and awareness for cancer organizations.
KITTEN Fronted by precocious 17-year-old Chloe Chaidez, Kitten is aptly named. The band’s electro-punk attack is more New Wave than riot grrl, and Chaidez’s impressive vocals trend more toward a breathy purr than the lioness roar of Karen O, though both extremes are well within her range. Chaidez and her band-mates have an impossibly trendy image, but they back up it up with atmospheric, ’80s-infused, candy-coated pop that hews closer to the angst and urgency of Blondie than the chirpy robo-dance of Missing Persons. Kitten knows its ’80s influences backwards and forwards, but the band builds on them, dipping into the fractured funk of Public Image LTD, the jagged electronics on Crystal Castles and the soaring melodies of M83. Scrapping promising careers in acting and gymnastics to follow her muse, Chaidez seems to have benefited from a musical Head Start program — her father drummed for ’80s East L.A. hardcore punk band Thee Undertakers — but she doesn’t come off as an irritating over-achiever. Live, Chaidez thrashes, writhes and whirls with the wildest of the dervishes. She’s a striking, charismatic force of nature, and it’s a good bet she and Kitten will upstage headliners Paramore. Sold out